But let’s stop to consider some possible implications. What if we’ve just invented the first test to prove, to a measurable certainty, whether love exists? What if this heralds the dawning of a new era? We could be in line for a Nobel or Oscar or something. For the acceptance gown, I’m thinking edgy. Vivienne Westwood.
Or let’s just skip public acclaim. It can be so empty. What about good old-fashioned American spiritual-materialist capitalism. We could make some money here! With a patent and the right packaging, this could be like a pregnancy test. After a questionable night, you could just drop in at the corner drug and pick up the kit.
Here’s what the five-part test looks like, as applied to disprove love. (We’d have to build in a warning protocol. Condition Red! Brace for impact! Seek help immediately!)
(1) Our own certainty is not proof of truth.
Here are some certainties from my sorry past. I am defective. Don’t measure up. Have poor judgment. Am insufficiently socialized. Tense, always on the muscle. Never satisfied. Oversensitive. Hair, clothes, etc. etc. everything. All wrong.
Of all this I became quite certain. Had lots and lots of evidence to confirm it (it being a self-fulfilling prophesy). In educated circles, my therapist tells me, this is known as an “internalized rejecting object.” A/k/a/ poor self-esteem, inner critic, etc. etc.
But glory be unto the good M&V memo to self. Our own certainty is not proof of truth.
(2) We live *not* in the world according to moi, but in a world we bring forth with others.
The above certainties are what I was told by others, in bringing me forth. I then turned to those, and then to other, others; I acted out those certainties; and I received (as it seemed to me) confirming feedback. Oh you’re so right, Anita. You are no damn good. (I knew it! I was certain!)
And the flip on that one, as my injured and indignant self would waste no time in answering back, was that others were no damn good either. And they were no damn good first. Bah-boom.
But, again. My certainty about self and others, as brought forth in dialogue between us, taken as proof of truth.
(3) “Others” necessarily means “those who are different from us.”
If I were to take my measure of myself and others from my own internal rejecting certainties, as I was vigorously engaged in doing, I wasn’t seeing self as different from what I’d been told about self. Nor was I seeing others as “other.” I was seeing the whole caboodle through my received lens, judging them by my own received internal yardstick. That wasn’t me checking for others’ differences, or checking what I’d been told as against how it was working for (or against, more like) me or them. That was me insisting that my version of self and others was the certain truth.
(4) So as things were, there it was: Certainty, sitting four-square in the middle, thwarting acceptance of myself and others. And thus,
(5) I was living in a world of indifference and negation under pretense of love.
Who could care, in such a world? Why bother?
Until Bugs. Who, at last, presented convincing data otherwise.
The thing about our friends of other species is, they don’t know from internalized rejecting object. They just are. And we poor human suckers can knock ourselves out imposing our internalized rejecting objects on them all we want to – or even if we don’t want to, because we can’t help it. Our friends from other species take not a blind bit of notice. They go on about the business of being just as they are. (Actually, as I read this again, I believe they can take notice — and if they do, it’s to their cost. Poor them.)
So this birthing experience with Bugs the MidBeing has been, for me, about how, just like it’s always been ever since the expulsion, new being is brought forth in pain – but (if very lucky) in possession of all ten fingers and toes and in complete and redemptive wholeness.